Emerging challenges necessitate UN peacekeepers to be better equipped, trained: PM Sheikh Hasina

Anisur Rahman
·2-min read

Dhaka, Apr 12 (PTI) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday voiced concern over the alarming rise in the deaths of UN peacekeepers in operations across the world and called for appropriate training and equipment to deal with new challenges.

Addressing the closing ceremony of a multilateral UN-mandated counterterrorism exercise 'Shantir Ogroshena' or 'Front Runner of Peace' held here, Hasina, said the time has come to make crisis-specific decisions on the field in UN peacekeeping operations.

“The time has come to equip peacekeepers with appropriate training and equipment to deal with the new upcoming crises and make crisis-specific decisions on the field in UN peacekeeping operations,' she said.

Hasina said the number of deaths of peacekeepers in 'alarming rate' in different UN peacekeeping missions particularly requiring them to be equipped with apt training and equipment.

'I hope required measures will be taken to this end,” she said during her virtual speech from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.

According to the UN Peacekeeping website, a total of 130 peacekeepers were killed in various operations in 2020 while in 2019 the figure stood at 103. The closing ceremony was held at Bangabandhu Cantonment in central Tangail district.

Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane along with his Bangladesh counterpart General Aziz Ahmed and military commanders of several other countries and UN missions joined the function.

Bangladesh Army organised the 10-day exercise to mark the country's founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's birth centenary and golden jubilee of its 1971 independence from Pakistan through a nine-month Liberation War, backed by India.

Indian, Bhutanese and Sri Lankan troops joined the exercise which was kicked off on April 4 while the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Singapore sent their military representatives as observers.

During her address, Hasina also greeted the participating personnel from abroad saying “surely our bilateral relations will be further flourished through you in the days to come”.

The Bangladesh premier expected the multinational exercise to be a milestone in establishing Bangladesh's Father of the Nation's philosophy of peace.

According to the Army, Bangladesh so far sent 175,000 peacekeepers, including 1,800 women to 54 UN missions in 40 countries of five continents.

Currently more than 7,000 Bangladesh Army and police personnel are deployed in 10 peacekeeping missions. PTI AR RUP AKJ RUP RUP